Posts Tagged ‘Phil Mushnick’


March 29, 2010


New York Post media critic Phil Mushnick spent his entire Monday column complaining about how many players in this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament had tattoos.



May 24, 2009


In his column today, New York Post media critic Phil Mushnick calls ESPN a “broken network.” This comes just a couple of weeks after Jason Whitlock called ESPN a “Threat to Democracy and our way of life.” Though it’s hardly revolutionary or groundbreaking (or even salient), the Mushick column is one of the few criticisms you will ever read about ESPN.

At this point you can literally count the number of newspaper writers and columnist willing to criticize ESPN on one hand. There’s Jason Whitlock (fired by ESPN), T.J. Simers (fired by ESPN), and Mushnick. Of the three, Mushnick is the only one who has never taken a dime from The Worldwide Leader.  

How does ESPN avoid criticism? After all, it’s not like they’re doing THAT great of a job. Easy. The broadcast network simply buys off any potential critics. Newspaper guys, who ten years ago would have struggled to make money, now make six and seven-figure salaries. Good for John Clayton. He would have probably made $35,000 to eventually $50,000 a year at the Tacoma News Tribune (unless he moved to the Seattle P.I. , in which case he’d be unemployed now, but that’s a different story.)

ESPN employs its large stable of newspaper writers chiefly to avoid public criticism rather than mine any terrific insight they might happen to offer. Can you think of any other reason they pay huge salaries to broadcast nonentities like Mike Lupica, Bob Ryan and Mitch Albom? It’s a strategy that has largely paid off. Criticism of ESPN is rare indeed in most U.S. newspapers. Working for ESPN and ESPN radio can be so lucrative that Dan Le Betard quit writing fulltime at his newspaper job for the Miami Herald (although he has a column out today.). Think of that. The Herald launched the careers of guys like Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen who eventually became millionaires through their writing. Now, you can make more money at ESPN.

ESPN has also made stars and recognizable public figures/quasi-celebrities out of hacks like Woody Paige, Stephen A. Smith, Jay Mariotti and Skip Bayless. It’s laughable that a television network would employ Tony Kornheiser as an “expert” on anything, let alone give him a plum job like Monday Night Football.  

Tony Kornheiser refuses to leave his house (let alone Washington D.C.) to cover  games, cant stay up past 8:00 p.m. and doesn’t even LIKE sports. Still, you can be DAMN sure that even though he whines about everything from his food, to his bedtime, to what city the Super Bowl is in, there is one thing that Kornheiser will never criticize-ESPN. Though not much of a writer, ESPN has made Kornheiser literally millions of dollars. Everything Kornheiser has ever written is out of print. None of his books are in the top 150,000 best sellers on and you can currently buy Kornheiser’s books for $0.01. Since he signed with ESPN, Kornheiser has become a lazier and lazier writer. He once filed a 17-word “column” for the Washington Post. Kornheiser’s writing became such an embarrassment that the Washington Post finally paid him to STOP writing.

ESPN is not “a threat to Democracy and our way of life.” Nor, are they a “broken” network. Far from it. They appear to be doing quite well, despite Mushnick’s criticisms. Still, it’s good to know that there are a couple of guys left who are willing to criticize them.




December 30, 2008

Strahan Fox Football


I happen to like New York Post sports media columnist Phil Mushnick. He is one of the few major writers who doesn’t take a paycheck from ESPN and therefore isn’t afraid to criticize them.

Where Mushnick often loses me though is when he pulls his faux moral outrage routine, like he did in Monday’s column. Mushnick went on a rampage over Fox announcers Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long use of the word “scumbag” on their Sunday pregame show.

Terry Bradshaw proudly proclaimed, “I am a scumbag!” during the opening of the Fox NFL Pregame Show Sunday. Bradshaw said he was openly rooting for the Detroit Lions to lose and go 0-16. Long jokingly agreed with Bradshaw, addressing him as, “Scumbag.”

You would think it was the end of Western Civilization as we know it.  Mushnick accused Fox of “ambushing” its national aufience with a “foul-mouthed” tirade. He even refused to write the phrase used by Bradshaw and Long, deeming it too offensive for New York Post readers. Mushnick, in an infantile gesture of prudism, wrote “s–bag'” leaving the reader to wonder if Bradshaw really HAD used a term deemed offensive by the FCC.

There’s only one problem with Mushnick’s misdirected outrage. The New York Post practically INVENTED the use of the term “scumbag.” In fact, it’s doubtful that any publication in the history of the English language uses the phrase MORE than the Post. Certainly, not Fox television. Just recently, Post columnist Andrea Peyser called a cop killer a “scumbag” in her October 16th column. For the record, The Post didn’t edit her remarks as “s–bag.” That would be the same column where Peyser used the phrase “pissing on the grave” of a New York City cop. Where was Mushick’s arguing to save-the-children when that column came out? Maybe I didn’t get the memo that made Phil Mushnick the moral arbitrator for America.

Maybe Mushnick missed that particular column, but the Post also just referred to Peter Cook (Christie Brinkley’s ex-husband) as a “scumbag” in print. And, do you know why? Because Peter Cook IS a “scumbag.” Just like someoneone who shoots cops and then “pisses” on their graves. It’s a perfectly accurate and descriptive word that conveys a thought.  Obviously, Mushnick’s employers at the Post don’t find the term so objectionable.

The use of the phrase “scumbag” has been on network television at least since Hill Street Blues signed on almost 20 years ago. Mushnick would be just as relevant if he were to lash out against “talkies” or crusade for tv to return to an all black and white format. He just comes across as old. Besides, if the term really is so offensive, why does his own paper use it? I know half the kids in New York can’t read, but if a term is too “foul-mouthed” and objectionable to possibly be heard on Sunday television, then it’s also too offensive to be delivered on the doorsteps of these same mythical New York children who may be harmed by the same phrase appearing in the New York Post.

Besides there is already a list of almost 1,200 words that the NFL ALREADY has deemed offensive and banned. These include such vile words as “Las Vegas.” I doubt adding another couple of words to that list makes this a better country. Phil Mushnick had better just shut the hell up and worry about his own employer.